Munitions Contractor Agrees to Continue Operations at Closed Kansas Ammo Plant

After more than seven years of negotiations with the Army, the munitions manufacturer at the former Kansas Army Ammunition Plant on Saturday accepted the Army’s terms for purchasing 4,112 acres at the site, allowing it to continue operating the plant and preserving the jobs of 150 employees.

The move provides a tremendous boost for Labette County in southeastern Kansas, which had been bracing to lose the company’s operation when negotiations over the sale came to a halt earlier this year. At that point, the Army gave Day & Zimmermann (D&Z) until July 31 to suspend operations and vacate the property.

But in an abrupt turnaround from where things stood as recently as last week, the company approved the purchase and sale agreement that the Army had signed last December. That agreement called for the Army to convey the property to D&Z along with a lump sum of $20.3 million for environmental cleanup. The company, however, refused to provide a guarantee that it would complete the remediation effort, reported the Parsons Sun.

When the Army would not agree to a series of changes to the purchase agreement requested by D&Z, negotiations broke down.

In fact, the Great Plains Development Authority, the ammunition plant’s local redevelopment authority, was prepared to amend its economic development conveyance (EDC) to accept the D&Z parcel. Negotiations between the development authority and the Army over a potential transfer of that parcel had not begun, however.

Last August, the development authority signed the deed to take possession of 6,116 acres at the plant, now called Great Plains Industrial Park, under its EDC. The Army previously transferred 2,600 acres to the development authority.

Ann Charles, the interim executive director of the Great Plains Development Authority, told 360 that D&Z’s decision to accept the terms of the purchase agreement with the Army is a relief on two fronts.

“The nearly 150 well-paying jobs that the company has on staff are critical to the area’s economy; it would have taken some time for Great Plains to have been able to replace them. We have always sat there as Plan B for the Army, but it’s great to not have to dust that plan off,” Charles said.

D&Z did not disclose the financial terms of the purchase agreement, according to a press release.

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